Edibles are a long-time favorite of the cannabis community. Thanks to recent production advancements, edibles are now reaching heights unlike ever before. Medical and recreational consumers alike enjoy edibles for many reasons, ranging from their slower onset time to the increased potency found in many products, especially those using extracted oils.
While edibles have far more pros than cons, their potency can be a drawback to some, particularly new consumers or anyone with a lower tolerance. These consumers can find themselves accidentally consuming too much THC. And if they don’t have some CBD on hand, they may be in for a less than enjoyable next few hours.
It’s vital to use the right amount of cannabis when making edibles. Otherwise, concoctions can end up with ineffective edibles lacking the needed THC, or on the other hand, create products far too potent.
Avoid any of the uncertainty with an edible calculator.
What is an edible calculator?
Edible calculators are helpful tools that ensure you use the right amount of cannabis in your edible recipes. Dosing is such a critical part of edible production because too many tend to forget potency change. Our bodies process edibles much differently than smoking–with the digestive system breaking down THC into 11-hydroxy-THC, creating a long and more potent experience.
Instead of eyeballing your measurements, use a weed edible calculator. This helpful digital tool uses a series of parameters to determine the proper dose for your next infusion. A quality edible dosage calculator considers several factors.
Let the edible dosage calculator do the work, giving you an approximate number of milligrams of THC needed to dose each portion of your edibles properly.
Why is a THC edible calculator important?
We all make mistakes. Even the best chefs, mathematicians and project managers out there slip up from time to time. It’s not a big deal to make a mistake in everyday life, but there is a bit more pressure when making marijuana edibles.
It takes precise science and math to create edibles these days. The DIY days of winging it and seeing what happens won’t work in today’s legalized pot and health-conscious consuming landscapes. Generating accurate figures requires processing several data points and figures. Making just one error in the process can undo all your otherwise accurate work. Why go through all that when technology helps streamline the process?
In short, edible potency calculators remove most of the potential for human error.
An overview of edible potency
The potency of edibles is measured differently from that of flower or concentrate. In edibles, cannabinoid concentration is expressed in milligrams rather than as a percentage. THC and CBD concentrations, along with the total cannabinoid content, are typically identified on manufactured products.
Before you pull out the recipe for your favorite homemade edible, first familiarize yourself with the potency of your chosen flower. Confirm the percentage of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in that sampling of flower. THC potency can vary dramatically across different varieties, and flower is generally much stronger today than it was 40 years ago. If you don’t know the potency of the flower you’re working with, you will not be able to calculate the edible dose accurately.
Next use the flower to create a weed-infused butter or oil by gently heating it within a carrier fat. “Remember that you can’t just use raw cannabis because raw cannabis doesn’t contain much THC, it contains the precursor, THCA,” said Dr. Jordan Tishler, cannabis physician and instructor at Harvard School of Medicine. “To convert the THCA to THC, you have to carry out a step called decarboxylation.”
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Molecular Structure identified the ideal conditions for optimal cannabis decarboxylation. It found that heating cannabis flower at 230 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius) for 110 minutes yielded the highest amount of active THC.
Heat your flower in a good-quality oil or butter, then strain, leaving the cannabinoid-infused fat or oil ready to use. The cooking time you allow for the extraction matters. Too brief and you leave behind too much unconverted THCA. Too long and you risk breaking down the THC into CBN.
Calculating the edible dosage
The recommended dose for those new to edibles is 1 to 5 milligrams of THC. That’s a very small amount considering the edible itself could weigh 20 grams. For context, there are 1,000 milligrams in 1 gram.
”Despite the fact that many recreational or self-directed users may have developed a high tolerance to THC, a high dose is neither a good thing, nor necessary for patients to get relief,” said Dr. Tishler. “Low doses are best. They can be just as helpful and avoid increasing tolerance and other side effects. My patients typically use between 5-20 mg, with 10 mg being average.”
After you have established your desired target dose, take these steps to calculate it.
Be conservative when estimating the decarb rate
Some estimates put the total conversion efficiency between 75% and 88%, depending on the temperature and time used. But err on the side of caution and assume you will decarb 90% of the THCA into THC.
Be conservative when estimating the extraction efficiency
After you’ve calculated the decarb rate, calculate the extraction efficiency. Not all the THC present in the plant will infuse into the butter or oil. Assume you will extract a minimum of 60% of the THC from the plant, even if extraction efficiency is usually closer to 30%-40%. Erring on the side of caution will save you from any unwanted surprises.
Do the math, then do it again
Let’s suppose you start with 10 g of flower containing 20% THC. That would leave you with 2,000 mg of THC total. After decarbing the flower (2,000 x 0.9), you will have 1,800 mg of THC. Following the extraction in oil or butter (1,800 x 0.6), you will have 1,080 mg of THC in that oil, which is sufficient for 216 standard portions containing 5 mg each.
A little cannabis goes a very long way when making edibles. As Tishler advised, “If you’re making your own edibles, do the math very carefully so that you know exactly how much you’re getting. You should not make the edibles stronger than necessary.” You can reduce the potency in a recipe by having a regular butter to cannabutter ratio that skews heavily in the direction of regular butter. Just make sure to adjust the math accordingly.